The AFOSC Antiques Group met on Sept 26, 2019. Below is a quick synopsis of our tour of the National Cathedral.

Again we are indebted to Jim Pittmans for a terrific program today. Even those of us who had previously visited the National Cathedral learned so much in our special private tour. Jim’s topic was Healing Arts. He pointed out stained glass windows and sculptures and wrought iron art representing biblical and modern day events. Also the Boss Stones which are at the intersections of the ceiling arches waaayyyy up there.

group of people looking up inside National Cathedral

You will notice that there was a lot of looking way up. Toward the entrance of the Nave, Jim pointed out the “Healing Window”

In which there were biblical scenes and scenes of Dr Lister and the Curies who contributed mightily to the advancement of modern medicine.

One stained glass window is called the “Good Samaritan Window” and it was easy to pick out the individuals of that Biblical message.

Luke was a disciple also known as the ‘Physician’ and the Bull was used as the symbol representing Luke. Luke and the Bull were shown in many windows and on the pulpit. (Which we could get close to.)

National Cathedral ironwork
National Cathedral ceiling
stained glass window at National Cathedral

Dr Jesse Lazear was represented on several pieces of art. In the last decade of 1800 he researched many diseases but may be best heralded because he established that yellow fever was spread by mosquitos, not by human contact. To make his point to the disbelievers he purposely let himself be bitten by an infected mosquito. He died of yellow fever at age 34 to prove his point. Hence his inclusion among the medical innovators.

Jim pointed out to us that the multiple representations of death are a part of the story of the art of healing. There are 35 instances of miracles in the Bible and 23 of them tell of healing.

There are a set of American history kneelers in a Chapel done in needle point by very skilled volunteers. Among the 5 kneelers of nurses are those for Walt Whitman and Harriet Tubman who contributed significantly to the battlefield injuries. I mention these two because they are commonly known for other skills and it was surprising information. And since our group is going on the Harriet Tubman tour in Maryland next month, it seemed especially relevant.

National Cathedral Alter
National Cathedral St.Luke
National Cathedral Alter

In one Altar area is a statue of the famous Dr Livingston among many. Florence Nightingale nursed people in Crimea in the 1850’s where she developed stages of care for battlefield wounded. She brought those triage ideas into the Civil War battlefields.

Jim Pittman is a medical doctor, historian, orator, story teller and friend extraordinaire. His knowledge of these subjects cannot be accurately repeated so I beg ya’ll pardon if I have made mistakes.

stained glass window National Cathedral

We took note of the Space Window which is fairly well known. Understandable since we are AF blue.

Jim recommends that we go to the Ben Loman house in Manassas which was a battlefield hospital during the Civil War. We will experience the sights, sounds AND smells of a battlefield hospital. There was mixed reaction to his suggestion.

But I think we all enjoyed Jim’s favorite scene. It is a small part of a glass window with a galloping horse looking backwards pulling a cart. Flying overhead is a stork. The doctor is trying to get to the delivery before the stork does!

We enjoyed eating together at the Cathedral Café which is in the building we had known as the Herb Cottage. We took our group photo there but we were missing Marjie. So 16 of us enjoyed the beautiful day together.
Thank you also to EvaLee and Chet for taking the reservations for today’s adventure.  Photos by Chet Griffin.